20th Anniversary of the Elmina-Java Museum


On 18 February the Elmina-Java Museum in Elmina, Ghana, will celebrate its 20th anniversary with a programme of speeches, lectures, theatre performance and an academic symposium. The museum pays attention to the history of African soldiers who in the mid-19th century served in the Dutch East Indies Army, as well as the history of Elmina and the tripartite relationship between Elmina, the Netherlands and the Ashanti Kingdom.

Between 1831 and 1872 some 3,000 African recruits sailed from Elmina to Batavia (now Jakarta), the capital of the Netherlands East Indies. They had been recruited to serve in the Dutch colonial army (KNIL), which throughout most of the 19th century experienced a chronic shortage of manpower. After their contracts expired, some of the African recruits returned to the Gold Coast where the majority settled in Elmina. Others, having established families during their long years of army service, opted to settle in the East Indies. 

The museum in Elmina opened in 2003 in the presence of a delegation of Belanda Hitam, descendants of the African soldiers, and their Indonesian wives. ASCL researcher Ineke van Kessel wrote a book on the history of these African soldiers, who became known as Black Dutchmen (Zwarte Hollanders (open access, with an introduction by Arthur Japin, 2005). Dr Van Kessel will contribute to the online academic symposium on 18 February.

Join the online symposium about 'Museums, Memory and Community Engagement'.
Date: 18 February
Time: 12:00-17:00 (GMT)

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